As parents, it’s our goal to introduce our little ones to new activities and help inspire their curiosity. As we aim to fill their minds, we need to be sure we’re not overloading their schedules and remember why play is important. Children need time for play, and not all play is created equal. In fact, child-led play is especially crucial for child development, a must for growing brains and bodies.
The Importance of Play
Child-led play is where a child has the time and space to play however they’d like (within the boundaries of safety, of course) without any formal structure or instruction. Here are some of the benefits:
- Inspires use of the imagination
- Encourages curiosity, and offers the freedom to safely explore the world around them
- Fosters social and emotional development by learning self-regulation of emotions
- Supports healthy brain development
- Gives a break from the hustle and bustle of a typical day
Children should have plenty of time for play outside of structured activities, which will help them flourish and avoid them getting burned out. It is through the process of becoming bored and using creativity to work your way out of it through imaginative play that kids develop skills that will last a lifetime.
How we Use Play in our Swimming Lessons
We know the cognitive, social and emotional benefits of play, and we make sure to weave it into our swim classes. Our instructors are all trained on child-led play and work hard to encourage it within the framework of our curriculum. Here’s how that looks:
- Our teachers invite swimmers to use their creativity and “play pretend” during lessons.
- We often use toys while in the pool, to make the experience fun for kids and make it so they want to come back to play and learn.
- Our instructors will ask for kids’ input on certain scenarios they create so they’re encouraged to use their imaginations alongside their peers.
There’s no doubt child-led play outside of structured activities is incredibly important for child development, and we’re intentional about making sure your little one benefits from play within our swimming classes too. Contact us to learn more about our learn to swim curriculum.